Secretary General visits Tripoli on final day of NATO’s operation in Libya

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen with Libyan National Transitioanl Council chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil,  October 31, 2011

From Slobodan Lekic, the AP:  NATO’s top official on Monday praised the alliance’s 7-month sea and air campaign in Libya — a key in ousting longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi — saying the mission’s end Monday marks the close of a “successful chapter in NATO’s history.”

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who was making his first visit to Tripoli since the end of the civil war less than two weeks ago, also congratulated the country’s revolutionaries on their victory and said they “helped change the region.”

“You acted to change your history and your destiny, we acted to protect you,” Fogh Rasmussen said at a joint news conference with Libya’s interim leader, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil. “Together we succeeded: Libya is finally free.”

NATO operations in the country officially end at midnight Monday Libyan time (2200 GMT, 6 p.m. EDT). Last week, the U.N. Security Council — which authorized the mission in March — ordered an end to all military action in Libya. . . .

With the Libya mission drawing to a close, spokesman Col. Roland Lavoie said NATO staff temporarily seconded to the headquarters in Naples, Italy, for the operation are being reassigned to regular duties. The alliance concluded its airstrikes soon after Gadhafi’s capture and death on Oct. 20, but maintained regular air patrols over Libya.  (photo: Getty)

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